Move over Perry Mason and Law & Order, the USA Network has introduced a new breed of legal drama on the small screen this winter. Fairly Legal, airing Thursdays at 9 p.m., is a show about a litigator-turned-mediator, played by Sarah Shahi, who uses creative solutions for legal (and non-legal) problems. “Justice doesn’t always need a courtroom, it needs creativity,” she boasts on the show’s website.
While Fairly Legal is only fairly realistic (the pilot features Ms. Mediator eccentrically resolving a $10 million dispute between a man and four people he’s suing over a botched marriage proposal), it still does good things for the alternative dispute resolution movement.
As mediation is mainstreamed by the media, it builds a stronger presence in society. In effect, people will be more likely to think outside of the box with conflict resolution, and might be inspired to use creative problem solving in their own lives.
What’s more, the public will become more conscious of mediation and other legal alternatives that are available outside of the traditional litigation circuit. (Especially after the USA Network arranged to hold rallying events at Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square prior to the show’s premier with signs reading, “No Litigation, Only Mediation.”)
Finally, while most legal dramas paint a very monochromatic stereotype of lawyers, shows like Fairly Legal help to exemplify the colorful spectrum of legal personalities that exist in real life (without sounding the crazy alarm, ahem, Boston Legal.)
Bottom line: mediation has officially arrived, Hollywood-style.
Hey guys. On behalf of USA, I just wanted to let you know full episodes of Fairly Legal are available online at USA.com (http://www.usanetwork.com/series/fairlylegal/video/fullep/). Check them out!